DOT says SDF incentives have garnered positive responses

Marketing and promotion activities undertaken by the Department of Tourism

The Department of Tourism is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the number of tourists coming to the country increases. In a question by the paper, the department highlighted some of the marketing and promotion activities undertaken, which are:

•   Digital marketing campaigns: The department runs targeted digital marketing campaigns to raise awareness about Bhutan as a tourist destination in key source markets. These campaigns leverage various online channels to reach a wide audience.

•   Advertising campaigns: Advertising initiatives are undertaken to promote Bhutan in key source markets. These campaigns utilize different mediums such as print, online, social media and radio advertisements to create visibility and generate interest.

•   Brand campaigns (Bhutan Believe): The department has launched brand campaigns like “Bhutan Believe” to establish a unique and compelling identity for Bhutan as a destination. These campaigns aim to highlight the country’s cultural richness, natural beauty, and spiritual essence.

•   Events and roadshows in key markets: The department organizes events and roadshows in key markets to engage with travel industry professionals, tour operators, and potential visitors. These activities provide opportunities for networking, showcasing Bhutan’s offerings, and building partnerships.

•   Promotion of festivals, events, and other activities: The department actively promotes the diverse festivals, events, and activities taking place in Bhutan. This helps create a vibrant image of the country and attracts travelers who are interested in experiencing its cultural celebrations and unique experiences.

•   Press releases and PR: The department regularly issues press releases (several per month) to share updates and news about Bhutan’s tourism industry. Additionally, we engage in public relations efforts to build relationships with global press and media outlets, facilitating coverage and positive exposure. We have received almost 2.500 pieces of tourism-related news since tourism reopened in September 2022, with a combined readership of around 3.5billion. Since September 2022, we have conducted 130 media interviews, and hosted more than 100 global journalists.

•   Sales representatives: The department employs sales representatives in key source markets who work to promote Bhutan as a destination and collaborate with travel agents and tour operators in various markets.

•   Improvements in photography and videography content: The department focuses on enhancing the quality and distribution of photography and videography content. By showcasing the hidden stories and captivating aspects of Bhutan, we aim to entice and captivate potential visitors.

•   Membership in high-end travel networks: The department has joined exclusive, high-end travel networks like Virtuoso, XO, and Serendipians (Traveller Made). This allows us to tap into luxury travel segments and connect with affluent travelers seeking unique experiences.

•   Webinars with sales agents: We have been conducting regular monthly webinars with global travel agents.

•   Support for familiarization trips, press trips, and influencer trips: The department actively supports and plans familiarization trips, press trips, and influencer trips. These initiatives enable industry professionals, journalists, and influencers to experience Bhutan firsthand and promote it to their respective audiences.

•   Social media strategy and influencer collaborations: The department has developed a comprehensive social media strategy to engage with potential visitors. We collaborate with influencers and leverage their reach to showcase Bhutan and create buzz around the destination.

•   Stakeholder meetings and training: The department conducts stakeholder meetings and provides training sessions for hoteliers and tour operators. These initiatives aim to improve the industry’s understanding of marketing, branding, and photography, enhancing their ability to effectively promote Bhutan. We are also trying to improve our collaboration with industry stakeholders such as ABTO and HRAB.

•   Collaboration with EDMOs and dzongkhag officials: The department works closely with the Economic Development Monitoring Offices (EDMOs) and other officials at the district level across Bhutan. We provide training in marketing, branding, and photography to these local stakeholders, enabling them to contribute to the overall promotional efforts. One such meeting is currently ongoing in the east of Bhutan.

•   Guest feedback survey: The department plans to soon launch a guest feedback survey to gather valuable insights and improve the visitor experience. This helps in identifying areas of improvement and enhancing the overall quality of tourism services in Bhutan.

•   Improvements in Wikipedia pages: The department focuses on enhancing the Wikipedia pages related to Bhutan, ensuring accurate and up-to-date information is available to users worldwide.

•   Host Team: We have employed a small team of desuups to help us answer guest queries received through the website.

•   CRM: We have started using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that helps us build a database of guests for Bhutan, which will allow us to stay in touch with them through newsletters and emails in the future.

•   Identification of new source markets: The department actively identifies and explores new and underdeveloped source markets for tourism. This includes regions such as the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), Brazil, China, and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, where there may be potential for increased tourism.

Through these diverse marketing and promotion activities, the Department of Tourism is working to enhance the visibility and appeal of Bhutan as a unique and enriching travel destination.

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu